What Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians Do
Occupational health and safety specialists and technicians collect data on and analyze many types of work environments and work procedures.
Occupational health and safety specialists and technicians work in a variety of settings, such as offices or factories. Their jobs often involve considerable fieldwork and travel. Most work full time.
How to Become an Occupational Health and Safety Specialist or Technician
Occupational health and safety specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety or in a related scientific or technical field. Occupational health and safety technicians typically enter the occupation through one of two paths: on-the-job training or postsecondary education, such as an associate’s degree or certificate.
The median annual wage for occupational health and safety specialists was $74,100 in May 2019.
The median annual wage for occupational health and safety technicians was $51,550 in May 2019.
Overall employment of occupational health and safety specialists and technicians is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Specialists and technicians will be needed in a wide variety of industries to ensure that employers adhere to both existing and new regulations.
Occupational health and safety specialists and technicians collect data on and analyze many types of work environments and work procedures. Specialists inspect workplaces for adherence to regulations on safety, health, and the environment. Technicians work with specialists in conducting tests and measuring hazards to help prevent harm to workers, property, the environment, and the general public.
Occupational health and safety specialists and technicians typically do the following:
- Inspect, test, and evaluate workplace environments, equipment, and practices to ensure that they follow safety standards and government regulations
- Prepare written reports on their findings
- Design and implement workplace processes and procedures that help protect workers from hazardous work conditions
- Evaluate programs on workplace health and safety
- Educate employers and workers about workplace safety by preparing and providing training programs
- Demonstrate the correct use of safety equipment
- Investigate incidents and accidents to identify what caused them and how they might be prevented
Occupational health and safety specialists examine the workplace for environmental or physical factors that could affect employee health, safety, comfort, and performance. They may examine factors such as lighting, equipment, materials, and ventilation. Technicians may check to make sure that workers are using required protective gear, such as masks and hardhats.
Some develop and conduct employee safety and training programs. These programs cover a range of topics, such as how to use safety equipment correctly and how to respond in an emergency.
Occupational health and safety specialists held about 100,500 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of occupational health and safety specialists were as follows:
|Management, scientific, and technical consulting services||6|
|Hospitals; state, local, and private||4|
Occupational health and safety technicians held about 22,100 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of occupational health and safety technicians were as follows:
|Management, scientific, and technical consulting services||9|
|Hospitals; state, local, and private||4|
Occupational health and safety specialists and technicians work in a variety of settings, such as offices or factories. Their jobs often involve considerable fieldwork and travel. They may be exposed to strenuous, dangerous, or stressful conditions. They use gloves, helmets, respirators, and other personal protective and safety equipment to minimize the risk of illness and injury.
Most occupational health and safety specialists and technicians work full time. Some may work weekends or irregular hours in emergencies.
This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of occupational health and safety specialists and technicians.
|Occupation||Job Duties||Entry-Level Education||Median Annual Pay, May 2019|
Construction and Building Inspectors
Construction and building inspectors ensure that construction meets building codes and ordinances, zoning regulations, and contract specifications.
|High school diploma or equivalent||$60,710|
Environmental Scientists and Specialists
Environmental scientists and specialists use their knowledge of the natural sciences to protect the environment and human health.
Fire inspectors examine buildings in order to detect fire hazards and ensure that federal, state, and local fire codes are met.
|See How to Become One||$60,230|
Health and Safety Engineers
Health and safety engineers combine knowledge of engineering and of health and safety to develop procedures and design systems to protect people from illness and injury and property from damage.
Environmental Science and Protection Technicians
Environmental science and protection technicians monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution and contamination.
For more information about credentialing in industrial hygiene, visit
For more information about occupations in safety, a list of safety and related academic programs, and credentialing, visit
For more information about occupational health and safety, visit
To find job openings for occupational health and safety positions in the federal government, visit
For a career video on occupational health and safety specialists, visit
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/occupational-health-and-safety-specialists-and-technicians.htm (visited ).